Grupo Ferrovial SA’s purchase of Heathrow cited as an example of inadequate investment guidelines

February 14, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Posted in BAA, Ferrovial, Heathrow, Heathrow airport, Heathrow expansion, IATA, Investments, Narita | Leave a comment

For another perspective on Heathrow expansion, perhaps it is worth reading how other countries view Ferrovial’s takeover of BAA:

Japan Needs Independent Regulator Before Narita Sale, IATA Says

By Chris Cooper

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) — Japan needs an independent airport regulator before selling shares in Narita International Airport Corp. to ensure investment and efficient operations, said the International Air Transport Association, which represents more than 240 airlines.

A regulator should be made up of independent members, such as university professors, and report to parliament rather than the transport ministry, IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani told reporters today in Tokyo.

The Japanese government may sell a stake in the country’s main international gateway as early as April 2009 to raise funds. Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering a bill that will limit the amount overseas investors can buy in airports.

“I don’t care who owns the airport,” said Bisignani, who heads the Geneva-based group. “A regulator could decide how much should be invested in the airport and how much could go to shareholders.”

He cited Grupo Ferrovial SA’s purchase of Heathrow airport when it acquired the airport’s operator BAA Plc in 2006 as an example of inadequate investment guidelines.

Heathrow has come under fire from airlines, passengers and politicians for delays, lost baggage and long lines at security checkpoints. BAA, which also owns London Stansted and Gatwick airports, has said Heathrow’s problems stem from a lack of expansion.

Failed regulation allowed for a 42 percent profit margin,” Bisignani said. “The new Spanish owner is happy but Londoners suffer with terminal facilities politely described as a national embarrassment.

An independent regulator should be set up before Narita is privatized to ensure shareholders “clearly understand what they are buying and what the expectations are,” Bisignani said.

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